When Connor first began her summer mission in South Asia, she thought she knew exactly what she would be doing. She would be ministering to Muslims, doing some street evangelism and hopefully forming meaningful bonds with Muslims that would eventually lead to salvation.
But it was Ramadan, so all the Muslims spent their days indoors. Furthermore, it was, in Connor’s words, “a really lost place,” and the different culture and beliefs made it hard for Connor to remain optimistic. It was the first time she had ever left the country, and she struggled to feel at home in a foreign land. “A lot of me wanted to turn away from it… but the Lord really grew me,” Connor explained.
Preparing a way
The Lord had been preparing Connor for this mission trip before she ever stepped foot in South Asia. Connor, a student at Texas A&M University, originally found herself interested in South Asia when she got involved in a South Asian student association on campus. Texas A&M’s Baptist Student Ministry got Connor connected with Go Now Missions, a Texas Baptists mission sending program for college students supported by the Mary Hill Davis Offering.
When Connor decided she wanted to spend her summer as a Go Now missionary, South Asia felt like a natural choice. Though she originally only wanted to go for two weeks, Connor felt God tugging on her heart to go for the whole summer.
As she was preparing to leave, she discovered that one of her friends from a South Asian student association, Ravi*, was from the city she was being sent to. His entire family still lived in that city. Ravi had just become a Christian when he first met Connor, and he was eager for his family, who were Hindu, to hear God’s word.
“He was relieved someone was sent to tell his family,” Connor said.
So Ravi arranged for Connor and a couple of other Go Now missionaries to go to his family’s house three hours outside of town. When they arrived, Ravi’s family seemed reluctant to listen to what Connor had to say. His dad, in particular, was resistant, and instead took Connor on a tour of the Hindu temples in the area, showing her their religion instead.
When they arrived back at the house, Connor began praying for a chance to share the Gospel with Ravi’s family. Finally, Connor said, she found the courage to speak. “Come here, I need to tell you a story,” Connor told them. “It’s the reason I came to South Asia.”
Connor shared the Gospel with Ravi’s entire family, but his mother was especially interested. Upon her return to Texas, Connor began joining Ravi when he would FaceTime his mom. His mother had begun reading books of the Bible for the first time, and she was telling people about it.
“It just blows my mind. We went there and [Ravi’s family] didn’t know about the Gospel at all, and now multiple people in their village know these stories,” Connor said.
It was only through God’s grace that she was able to meet Ravi’s family and share the Gospel with them. Connor thought she would spend her summer ministering to Muslims in the city, but instead she spent it with a Hindu family in the country. They didn’t fit into Connor’s plan, but they did fit into God’s.
Planning for the future
Connor’s time as a missionary changed her too. She now sees her college campus as a mission field, too. She emphasized that you don’t have to travel the world to spread the love of Christ. Now, when she encounters new people, she asks herself, “How can I be intentional with each person I come in contact with?”
Connor graduates from Texas A&M in August. She plans to intern at the BSM there for a semester, where she hopes to use the skills she learned from Go Now Missions. Her experiences in South Asia, as well as the Go Now training, have helped Connor understand different cultures and people better. On a campus as diverse as Texas A&M’s, those skills are very valuable. “I want to take that to my BSM and equip them....when you’re sharing [the Gospel] in the states, you have no idea where in the world it could go,” Connor explained.
After her internship, Connor wants to return to South Asia and continue ministering to the people she encountered there. Her time there gave her a heart for the people, and she is determined to share the Gospel with as many people as possible.
As a result of gifts through the Mary Hill Davis Offering, Go Now Missions can reduce the cost that student missionaries pay to lower than the actual expense of their mission experience. The Mary Hill Davis Offering is a WMU-led offering that supports missions around the state of Texas. The 2019 Mary Hill Davis Offering statewide goal is $3.8 million and the Week of Prayer for Texas Missions is September 8-15.
Click here to give to the Mary Hill Davis Offering to support missions and ministries for discipleship and church multiplication across Texas. Click here for promotional materials to share this in your church.